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VOL. 129 | NO. 47 | Monday, March 10, 2014

U of M Finalists Include Three Provosts

By Bill Dries

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The group of four finalists to become the next president of the University of Memphis includes three provosts including the university’s current provost and one former university president.

The four finalists were named last week by a search committee to the Tennessee Board of Regents, which should make its decision in the spring with the goal being to name a new president for the city’s largest institution of higher education in time for whoever is selected to begin their duties in July.

Interim president Brad Martin, who was appointed following the retirement of Shirley Raines, took the post in July and has said he wants to hold the position for a year.

Martin has charted an aggressive course for the interim leadership of his alma mater that is certain to be a factor in whoever is selected by the Board of Regents, the state body that governs all public colleges and universities in the state outside of the University of Tennessee system.

So far, Martin has worked closely with provost David Rudd in closing a budget gap as well as reorienting the university’s goals to increase enrollment as well as expand the Park Avenue campus.

As provost, Rudd leads the school’s academic affairs division. He came to Memphis in March 2013 from the University of Utah were he was a dean.

Sharon Graber is provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She has held the post since 2009 and before that served as interim provost at Auburn University.

George W. Hynd has been provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the College of Charleston in South Carolina since 2010. He came to Charleston from Arizona State University where he held a similar position. Hynd will focus on the University of Memphis search process this month as three finalists for the presidency of the College of Charleston visit that campus this month.

The fourth finalist, Guy Bailey, is former president at the University of Alabama and Texas Tech University.

Bailey resigned in January 2013 after two months as president of the University of Alabama citing the illness of his wife and her battle with cancer as well as complications from surgery. His wife died in September.

He had been president of Texas Tech from 2008 until taking the Alabama post.

All four finalists will meet with faculty and staff and other local groups March 16-25 on campus with several forums being planned.

The search committee fielded more than 70 applications and worked with a search firm to narrow the field.

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